Ms Puleio wrote that she was quoted $20,000 for her dental work, which was too much for someone in her financial circumstances.
“I’m a single mother, with top private health insurance and Dr Dean must have assumed that I was the Banko Nationale which is not the case at all,” she wrote.
The Victorian County Court awarded damages of $170,000 for a bad Google review.Credit:Wayne Taylor
In evidence, Dr Dean said it was Ms Puleio’s intention to cause as much damage as possible when writing the reviews.
“I can confirm that she has been successful in this regard. The impact of her written word and her associated conduct have caused immeasurable damage to my emotional wellbeing, my psychological and physical health, my reputation, my work and my business,” she said.
“The amount of stress caused by these publications has been more than I have been able to endure and I am desperate to put this experience behind me and move on with my life and my career.”
In her judgment, Judge Julie Clayton accepted that the online reviews had been seen by a large number of people.
“It is likely that somewhere in the vicinity of 100,000 people have viewed the extract of that review which states ‘unprofessional and undermining service’,” she said.
The reviews also had a “grapevine effect”, Judge Clayton said, which meant that the impact of the publications had spread beyond those people who actually saw them.
The court heard that there was a downturn in average weekly page views…